Kampong Speu villagers file complaint over lost homes

Phnom Penh Post

A GROUP of disabled soldiers and their families on Monday filed a complaint against two military police officers who they said burned down two homes and destroyed a third on a social land concession in Kampong Speu province last week.

Bun Sophat, one of the former soldiers who said he lost his home, accused the military police officers of threatening to shoot people living on the social land concession if they did not allow the destruction of the homes to go forward.

“They shot seven bullets into the air and threatened to kill us. I have no idea why they burned our houses, but maybe it is because they want this land for selling,” Bun Sophat said.

Eight military police officers went to the site – located in Treng Trayoeng commune in Kampong Speu’s Phnom Srouch district – last Thursday armed with seven guns and some axes, said Touch Soeu Ly, director of the Cambodian Association for Disability Relief, an organisation based in Kampong Speu province.
The complaint calls on the provincial court to prosecute the officers and make them pay US$3,000 in compensation, Touch Soeu Ly said.

He said that 400 families first began settling the land in 2000, and that they have since built a pagoda, school, health centre, market and road there.

The land was designated a social land concession in 2006.

Yann Thol, assistant to judicial bureau at provincial military police headquarters, said his office had sent officers to visit the site since the incident.
“We have accepted the complaint, but we need more time to investigate to find the real perpetrators,” he said.

Provincial court prosecutor Khut Sopheang said Monday afternoon that he did not know whether the court had received the complaint.

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